A lipoma is a lump, or an overgrowth of benign tissue, in this case, fatty tissue. It is usually located in the deeper layer of the skin, where the subcutaneous fat sits. Contrary to what some people think, lipomas are in no way related to one's diet and body habits. They become noticeable around the age of 30. There may be an underlying genetic predisposition to have them. Very rarely, you can develop lipoma in internal organs.
Another thing to remember is that you can have one lipoma, or you can have many lipomas (there may be a genetic cause for that). While they occur equally in men and women, men have a tendency to develop multiple lipomas, while women are more likely to have just one.
It's hard to predict how big they can get, but overall you can have a skin growth from 2 cm upwards of 10 cm. They start out very small, and people are often unaware they have them. Over time, they extend in size and stabilise, but they don't go away.
For some individuals, one or more benign lumps can be present at the same time, and they are most commonly found on the face, forehead, neck, torso, armpits, upper arms, upper back and upper thighs. Тhough lipomas are typically not cancerous and don't posе significant health risks, many individuals often still opt to have the lipomas removed for cosmetic reasons.
Most lipomas tend to be asymptomatic, and oftentimes, people are unaware they have them until the moment they get to a size that is hard to ignore. They present as firm nodules under the skin. You can move them around. They don't throb or cause any type of discomfort. In rare cases, skin lumps can put pressure onto nearby nerves and blood vessels, thereby causing pain.
The following are some symptoms that you can look out for to help you identify a lipoma.
A lipoma will typically:
Science still doesn't have a solid understanding as to why they happen. In most cases, lipoma develops as an inherited condition that families pass down from generation to generation.
Lipomas are pretty common. They occur in 1 in 1,000 people.
In other individuals, lipoma development may be a symptom of a rare disorder like adiposis dolorosa, Madelung's disease, multiple symmetric lipomatosis, hereditary multiple lipomatosis (familial multiple lipomatosis), and Gardner syndrome. Sometimes physical trauma can cause soft fatty lumps to form in the affected area.
Other risk factors include glucose intolerance, high cholesterol, and obesity. However, they are not the main cause of lipomas but are more of a contributing factor.
A lipoma is a benign accumulation of soft tissue masses under the skin that can move around, whereas a liposarcoma is a type of cancerous tumour. While the former is classified as benign growth and doesn't need any treatment, skin tumours need urgent attention. To differentiate between the two, doctors need to do a biopsy on the suspected lipoma. If the biopsy shows cancerous cells, you will be referred to a medical oncologist.
Lipomas can be of different types, depending on their contents.
Being benign tumours, lipomas don't typically require treatment, and they are rarely harmful. This is a cosmetic rather than a medical concern. If you have a lipoma that doesn't bother you aesthetically, you don't have to do anything about it. However, if it is something you want to desperately get rid of, that would be one indication to eliminate it. Another indication is if the lipoma feels uncomfortable. You can always contact us for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
As lipoma would not go away on its own, the only way to remove lipomas entirely would be through surgical excision. The process involves the doctor injecting local anaesthesia around the area of which the lipoma is located. Thus, making an incision to remove the benign growth and closing with an incision with sutures. However, suppose the lipoma is situated in an area of the body that can't be easily accessed by simple excision. In that case, the patient may need to undergo general anaesthesia to get it removed.
At Shens Clinic, our consultant plastic surgeon will remove the lipoma or benign growth in a way that keeps the scarring to a minimum. For post-surgery, the patient could opt for laser resurfacing treatment to reduce the visibility of the scar.
You should know that there is no special diet that can deal with lipomas. The best lipoma treatment is manual removal of the fatty mass through excision or enucleation. It is performed in an outpatient setting by trained healthcare providers. Another option is liposuction.
Our plastic surgeon will do a physical check-up and give you directions on how to prepare for the procedure. You will be instructed to fast for several hours before the treatment.
On the day of the surgery, he will put numbing medicine under the skin (local anaesthesia) and make a small incision over the lipoma. With the enucleation approach, the lipoma is separated from other surrounding tissues with a curette. Oftentimes, it will pop out on its own, and the rest of it is removed manually. A pressure dressing is applied to the wound.
When it comes to lipoma excision, once the incision is made, the lipoma is cut off from the other tissue, and the resulting opening is closed with absorbable sutures. After that, the wound is stitched with non-absorbable sutures.
As far as liposuction is concerned, the area is numbed in advance, as always, and small cuts are made into the pre-marked areas. Our surgeon inserts a cannula under the skin and starts suctioning the excess fats or removes the benign masses with a large syringe.
You should expect to feel comfortable during the surgical procedure. You may be able to feel some pressure while our surgeon is working on the existing lipoma. The treatment will last for about 15 minutes. When it's over, you will be transferred to another room and maybe discharged on the same day, depending on the size of the lipoma.
When it comes to liposuction, you will be given local anaesthesia or put under general anaesthesia, depending on the complexity of your case and the size of your lipoma.
Lipoma treatment is not painful because it involves the use of local anaesthesia. This means patients are comfortable throughout the entire process.
There is a small risk of bleeding and infection. The procedure to remove lipomas may leave a scar. If the lump is located near a nerve, removing it may affect said nerve and lead to numbness in that area.
If you have a stitched wound, expect to spend around 14 days recovering. On average, patients can expect rapid recovery after the surgery.
Once the lipoma is removed, the patient may experience slight discomfort in the treatment area for the first 3 days but can usually be managed by pain medication issued.
After liposuction, you should expect to have some bruising, swelling and pain in the treatment area. You will need to put on compression garments to reduce the swelling and may also be given painkillers. It will take a couple of weeks before you can resume normal activities and exercise.
Unless your job is physically demanding, you can return to work on the day after the surgery. You will be directed to care for the wound by changing the dressings on the regular and may have to apply special medication to it to keep the site clean and prevent infection.
The pain and discomfort can be managed with some warm compresses or heat pads. For stitched wounds, you will need to come back to our clinic to have your stitches removed.
The patient can also periodically ice the treatment area (best practice: 5 minutes at every hour for a week) as directed by the doctor and clinic staff. Hence, one should avoid intensive exercise or heavy lifting post-surgery to allow the wounds to heal properly.
It is possible that lipomas re-occur, even after surgery, especially if you have a family history for them. There is little you can do to prevent that, but you can always seek medical advice from us on how to act further.
The cost of lipoma treatment varies per clinic and surgeon's experience. Other factors that influence the price are the technique that will be used and the complexity of the procedure, i.e. how big your lipoma is and its location.
Here is a quick overview of what causes the difference in prices:
If you would like to know how much you have to pay to have your lipoma removed at our clinic, get in touch with us and book a consultation so that we can give you more information based on your unique case.
Dr Shens is a Korean-trained plastic surgeon who has more than 20 years of experience in cosmetic procedures. His training allows him to customise his approach and offer personalised treatments for each unique situation instead of a one-size-fits-all solution. He has performed lipoma removal surgery a lot in the past years and knows his way around surgery.
Dr Shens and his team have genuine interest and concern for patients, always making sure you feel comfortable and cared for at the clinic. At the time of consultation, we encourage an honest discussion and provide all the information you want and should know. No matter what cosmetic skin issue you are faced with, we can help you feel and look your best.
For more information about the lipoma removal procedure and its cost, feel free to contact our customer support team at Shens Clinic via WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram or our customer hotline.